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Old 05-02-2012, 12:12 AM   #1
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Towing a large boat with a Class A

We are still looking for our next RV. Some friends of ours are upgrading and offered to sell us their 1996 Holiday Rambler 34 foot class A. It is a pristine low mileage unit with a Ford 460 engine. The coach has a class III hitch and is secured to the frame of the unit. Tow capacity for this coach is supposed to be 8K, however tow ratings usually include the weight of passengers, fuel, water, and gear onboard the coach. We tow our 22 foot sport cuddy boat with us as our camping is usally done lakeside which revolves around our grandchildren and water sports. The boat weighs 4100 lbs, plus a 1000 lb aluminum tandem axle trailer. With gear, I am guessing that the entire rig fueled up and ready to roll will top 5500 lbs and could go as high as 6K depending on what gear is loaded in it. It holds 55 gallons of fuel. The tongue weight is 600 lbs. The boat trailer has electric brakes on all four axles with a electric break-away switch. I know that we will be pushing the limits on this coach. How do you think it will perform? Thanks, Charles
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by gcsprayjr View Post
How do you think it will perform? Thanks, Charles
Slowly in the mountains.
The hitch is probably rated for 3,500#'s and no more than 5,000#'s for that year.
You might get by with it, then again you might not.
Our DSDP is rated for 6,000#'s due to the hitch and can go up to 10,000#'s with a hitch change. We're about 5,000#'s with the Ody and dolly. Even so I notice the towed back there and we've got 435 hp and 1200 ft lbs torque, but the MH weighs a lot more too.
I think you'll find you need something with more capacity to pull the boat out of the water and up a ramp.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input. We live in the Smoky Mountains, just outside of the national park. Yes the roads are steep/winding/ and narrow. The road to our primary boat ramp has a 14% grade for 1/4 mile. If the engine is going to struggle then that means the transmission will really take a beating. I believe that they still used the C-6 auto in that unit, which is a rugged trans, but it only has three gears. As for the hitch on the coach, it is labeled 6K, but that does not mean the chassis is as sturdy as the hitch. The excessive overhang due to the length of that coach makes me somewhat nervous to put that much weight behind it. The boat trailer is aluminum, and not designed for a weight distribution hitch, and the axles are at the rear of the trailer because the boat has a 7.4 liter bigblock in it. The hitch weight willl be a dead weight tow.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:25 AM   #4
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Here's the formula to determine how much you can tow: GCWR minus the weight of the tow vehicle (your motor home) or the hitch capacity, whichever is lower.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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Perhaps they will let you try it for a weekend. It may pull the boat but you may find it is way under powered and ratings. Better to buy something that will satisfy you now then find out later you made a mistake. Also the "peace of mind" is worth something to consider when going down the road. I would not be comfortable being on the edge of the towing limits!
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:33 AM   #6
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Pulling the boat back out of the water is a real concern. Also, a 14% grade would worry me, going or coming back! I think you've answered your own question, it would be a strain. Also, why do you need a cuddy cabin boat if you have an RV? Might be time to downsize to a deck boat or run about. My dad had a 20' cuddy, I thought it was the most useless boat, over 1/3 taken up by a cabin never used. We had grown up on cruisers on the Chesapeake so I love boats, but a cuddy on a lake is not needed.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:40 AM   #7
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All I can say is you will never see me on a boat ramp with my MH. I got stuck in a level CG lot in 2 inches of sand. My boats go in and out with 4 wheel drive only. I've seen MHs in the lake with water up to the BR window before.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:58 AM   #8
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I think you are really pushing the limits with a 14% grade and trying to launch or recover the boat. I, on occasion take our 25' pontoon to the lake with the RV. I do not attempt to launch or recover the boat. There is always someone around with a pick-up that will launch it for $20.00. Never had a problem finding someone and usually they don't want the money.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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A 14 % grade is a bit steep. My experience - pulled my Ranger with an 88 24' Southwind 454 with a 3 speed. Launched and retrieved successfully on some pretty steep COE launches. Pulling the same boat now with a V10 - yes it slows down on hills, but then my buddy's Duramax/Allison slows down pulling his 36" 5er. Your experience may be different - my luck may be limited.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:33 AM   #10
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It sounds like this motorhome is not the best choice for us. I think that if I can find a good clean 24 foot class A it will work better for us.

As for the boat, it is not exactly what one normally thinks of as a cuddy cabin. It is called a 22 footer, but acutally measures 23 feet 10 inches, so it is a good sized boat. The boat is a Mach 1 Condor built as an off-shore racer. It is designed like a run-about and the cabin is very tiny only taking the space below the bow. It is a minimal space for a boat this size. One cannot tell that there is a cabin from looking at the profile of the boat. The cabin has enough room for a porta potty and it makes a good place for grandchildren to take a nap. The grandchildren use the cabin to get out of the rain or out of the sun. The boat has seating for 8 on deck. It has a 454 engine in it, and will pull four on the skis at once. We have 11 grandchildren and we use the boat for water sports.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:39 AM   #11
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This sounds like a very nice boat. However, whatever gas motorhome you finally buy, be sure to add a transmission temperature gauge and a second transmission cooler. Don't depend on the one the chassis mfg. installed.

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It sounds like this motorhome is not the best choice for us. I think that if I can find a good clean 24 foot class A it will work better for us....As for the boat, it is not exactly what one normally thinks of as a cuddy cabin. It is called a 22 footer, but acutally measures 23 feet 10 inches, so it is a good sized boat....
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